Skip to main content

Full text of "Illustrations of human vivisection"

See other formats



Human Vivisection 

"Gross abuses in any profession should 
not be hushed up, but should rather be 
made public as freely as possible, so as 
to rouse public opinion against them and 
thus render their repetition or spread 
impossible. . . . The whole medical 
profession must reprobate cruelties such 
as these perpetrated in the name of 
science."— British Medical Journal. 



has been incorporated as the exponent of the principle which demands, not the 
total abolition of a scientific method, but prevention of the abuses which pertain 
to it. Within certain limitations, and for certain definite objects, it regards such 
experimentation as legitimate and right. Carried on beyond these bounds, 
vivisection becomes monstrous and cruel, a menace to humanity, an injury to 
the cause of science. 

The Society is utterly opposed to human vivisection as illustrated in this 
pamphlet, no matter what may be the eminence of the men who practice and 
defend it. 

The vivisection of animals, carried on without legal regulation, sometimes 
constitutes a form of scientific torture, which, in the words of the late Dr. Henry 
J. Bigelow of Harvard Medical School, "is more terrible, by its refinement and 
the efforts to prolong it, than burning at the stake." We shall aim to make 
this cruelty impossible, except as a crime. 

To suppress such abuses as are admitted to exist, and to effect this without 
interference with any form of research conducted under State supervision < and 
guarded against abuse, is the object of the Society. 

The Vivisection Reform Society appeals, therefore, for encouragement 
and support to all who have at heart the honor and interest of scientific advance- 
ment and the prevention of injustice and cruelty. 

The fee for annual membership is $2.00; for life membership, $25.00. 


Incorporated in 1903, under the Laws 
of the United States 


David H. Cochran, Ph. D.. LL. I). 

Late President of the Polytechnic Institute, Brooklyn, N. Y. 


Sydney Richmond Taber Edward M. Samuel 

532 Monadnock Block, Chicago, III. 109 Rialto Building, Chicago, III. 


David H. Cochran, Ph.D., LL. D Brooklyn, N. Y. 

Hon. James M. Brown, Counsellor at Law ..... Toledo, Ohio 

Titus Munson Coan, M. D. , . New York City 

Sydney Richmond Taber, Counsellor at Law Chicago, 111. 


His Eminence, Cardinal James Gibbons Baltimore, Md. 

Prof. Goldwin Smith, D. C. L., LL. D Toronto 

Prof. John Bascom, D. D., LL. D., ex-President of University of 

Wisconsin .......... Williamstown, Mass. 

Hon. Jacob M. Gallinger, M. D., TJ. S. Senator .... Concord, N. H. 

Hon. Arba N. Waterman, LL. D., ex-Judge of Illinois Appellate Court Chicago, III. 

Francis Fisher Brown, Editor of " The Dial " Chicago, III. 

Edward H. Clement, Editor of "Evening Transcript" . . . Boston, Mass. 
Henry M. Field, M. D., late Emeritus Professor of Therapeutics, 

Dartmouth Medical College ....... Pasadena, Gal. 

Charles W. Dulles, M. D., Lecturer on History of Medicine, University 

of Pennsylvania . . . Philadelphia 

Alfonso David Rockwell, M. D New York City 

Samuel A. Jones, M. D. . . Ann Arbor, Mich. 

Rev. Frederic Rowland Marvin, M. D. . ... . . . Albany, JSf. Y. 

James H. Glass, M. D., Surgeon of Utica City Hospital . . . TJtica, N. Y. 

Rev. Francis H. Rowley, D. D., Pastor of First Baptist Church . Boston, Mass. 

Rev. Leverett W. Spring, D. D., Professor of English Literature in 

Williams College , Williamstown, Mass. 


In the following' pages are given a few illustrations of the great vice of 
modern science, known as Human Vivisection. Much that could be brought 
forward is not included; for some of the worst cases of American experimenta- 
tion are too loathsome for publication except for special circulation. Enough 
is given in these pages to afford any reader the means for judging the morality 
of this practice. 

One distinction must be carefully noted. 

The phrase Human Vivisection must not be taken as having any reference 
to the experimental use by physicians of new methods or new remedies, with a 
view to the benefit of the patient. To such tests there can be no objection. But 
Human Vivisection is something entirely different. It may be denned as the 
practice of subjecting human beings, men, women and children, who are patients 
in public charitable institutions, hospitals or asylums, to experiments involving 
pain, distress, mutilation, disease or danger to life, for no object connected with 
their individual benefit, but for scientific purposes. 

The attention of the reader is called to the following points : 

First. The instances of human vivisection here presented may be found re- 
corded in medical books or journals printed in the English language, to which 
reference is made. 

Second. No experiment is quoted in full; considerations of space forbid. 
Italics are ours. 

Of what use, some will ask, is such a revelation of evil deeds ? 

It is necessary. Before any reform can be hoped for, there must be such 
exposure as shall, sooner or later, awaken an effective public condemnation. 

Herein are delineated oppression of the weak, cruelty to the defenseless, 
injustice to the poor, violation of human rights. Are these of no account? 

For reform, what is necessary? 

First. Investigation; such careful inquiry by the general public as shall 
lead to recognition of the reality of the evil, and of the attitude of the medical 

Second. Investigation as to the relation existing between human vivisec- 
tion, and the vivisection of animals as now carried on in this country. 

Third. Such absolute condemnation of this hideous practice by the leading 
medical associations of the United States as shall stamp the human vivisector 
with ignominy and disrepute. 

Fourth. Such state and national legislation as shall make the* human vivi- 
section-experiments herein delineated a crime against the commonwealth. 

Are these unreasonable demands? 

An expression of the opinion of every reader of this pamphlet is requested. 

S. R. T. 



In the study of poisons and their effects under different circumstances, a 
large number of experiments upon human beings have been made. Doubtless, in 
a few cases, such experiments have been made by enthusiastic scientists upon 
themselves, but this form of generous martyrdom is rare; and far more often the 
"material" has consisted of the poorer class of patients in public institutions. 
The superiority of human beings as material for scientific investigations of this 
kind is undoubted, and has long been recognized. A distinguished experimenter 
upon the lower animals, Dr. Horatio C. Wood of Philadelphia, once said very 
plainly that ''no experiments on animals are absolutely satisfactory unless con- 
firmed upon man himself." 1 Equally clear in the recognition of the defects 
of animals as material in certain experiments is the statement made by Dr. W. 
W. Keen, Dr. S. Weir Mitchell and Dr. Geo. R. Morehouse in their report upon a 
phase of the subject which, at one time, occupied their attention. They assure 
us plainly that certain facts — "very curious facts," they are called — "could cer- 
tainly not have been learned from any course of experiments upon animals lower 
than man." This grouping of man with other vivisectible animals may shock 
one at first, but science, as a rule, has no regard for sentimental distinctions. 

Regarding the inferiority of experiments with poisons made upon animals, 
and the improper and inaccurate conclusions so frequently deduced therefrom, 
Dr. Keen and his associates are outspoken. For example, they tell us : 

''It is not unfit that we should criticize the loose way in which therapeutic inferences 
have been drawn from experiments upon animals, where of necessity poisonous doses have 
been employed, and their effects studied. . . . Even when these drugs are given in 
poisonous doses to animals, it -does not follow that the resultant symptoms will, either in 
degree or in kind, correspond accurately to those which occur under like circumstances in 
man."" 1 

In support of this conclusion, Dr. Keen and his associates give very strik- 
ing illustrations. One of them — Dr. Weir Mitchell — proved that to kill a snap- 
ping-turtle with a certain poison it requires no less than fourteen times the dose 
Ithat will kill a rabbit, the difference in weight being taken into account. "We 
ourselves have seen a deg recover after the subcuticular injection of twenty- 
five grains of atropia" — a dose far greater than is sufficient to kill a man. Con- 
cerning a certain conclusion from various experiments, Dr. Keen and associates 
make what we must regard as a very noteworthy criticism when they tell us that 
although the positive evidence in favor of a certain conclusion has gained 
largely, yet 

"it has been shown repeatedly that the negative evidence derived from experiments on animals 
is not 1o bs trusted, although to it Dr. Brown-Scquard has given the sanction of his great 
authority." 3 

\ The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, Philadelphia, published by Henry 

C. Lea, Vol. 85 (N. S., 59), No. CXVII (New Series), p. 52. 
2 . Same, published by Blanchard & Lea, New Series, Vol. 50, No. XCIX (New Series), 
p. 69. 
3 . Same, p. 70. 


When we remember that Brown-Sequard was perhaps the most ruthless ex- 
perimenter upon animals that ever lived, a scientist whose renown as a vivisector 
belonged to two continents, this impeachment of his conclusions based upon ani- 
mal experimentation is certainly significant. 

It by no means follows that these writers regard animal experimentation 
as useless in the study of poisons. It has, they tell us, a certain value. But to 
appreciate properly a poisonous agent, its effects must be studied upon a wide 
range of created things, beginning perhaps in vegetables and ending in human 
beings. But let us state this conclusion in their own vivid and vigorous lan- 
guage : 

"It would be easy to extend these examples, and to show, not that we should cease to 
use animals for the study of poisons, but that in order to appreciate properly any toxic 
[poisonous] agent, we must follow its effects through a wide range of created existence from 
vegetable to man, and that its therapeutic uses are to be learned only from its influence upon 
the being to whom finally it is to be of medicinal value." 3 

Do we read this aright? To study properly any poison, must we invariably 
''follow its effects . . . from vegetable to man"? Up to man? Science 
"must" do this? Let us see whither this peculiar doctrine appears to have led 
certain scientific enthusiasts, when unrestrained by other considerations. 

One of the boldest investigators in this direction was Dr. Sydney Ringer 
of England. As physician to the University College Hospital of London, he en- 
joyed unusual opportunities for testing various poisons and poisonous substances 
upon the charity patients who had confided themselves to his care. To his 
credit it must be said that he made no secret of his experimentation ; he told his 
medical brethren exactly what he was doing; many of his experiments upon his 
simple-minded patients are related in his own work on Therapeutics — published 
in this country by William Wood & Co. of New York City. 

Poisoning with Salicine. Of his investigations with this substance, Dr. 
Ringer writes at considerable length, and with noteworthy frankness : 

"In conjunction with Mr. Bury, I have made some investigations concerning the action 
of salicine on the human body, using healthy children for our experiments, to whom we 
gave doses sufficient to produce toxic [poisonous] symptoms. We tested the effects of 
salicine in three sets of experiments, on three healthy lads. To the two first, we gave large 
doses and produced decided symptoms. . 

Under toxic, but not dangerous doses, the headache is often very severe, so that the 
patient buries his head in the pillow. There may be very marked muscular weakness and 
tremor. . . . There are often slight spasmodic twitchings when a limb is raised. . . . 
The respiration is hurried, sometimes deepened, sometimes sighing and shallow and almost 
panting, . . . but the patient does not complain of any difficulty of breathing. . . . 

Our first set of experiments was made on a lad aged ten. . . During the investiga- 
tion he was kept in bed, but was allowed to sit up in it. He was admitted with bella- 
donna poisoning, but our observations were not commenced till some days after his complete 

This patient was therefore experimented on after his complete recovery, 
and when he should have been discharged from the hospital and sent home as 
cured. Among the effects recorded during this experiment are "severe frontal 
headache, ... so severe that the lad shut his eyes and buried his head in his 

3 . Same, p. 70. 

\ A Handbook of Therapeutics, by Sydney Ringer, M. D., 8th Ed. New York. Pub- 
lished by William Wood & Co. Pp. 584, 585, 586, 588. 


arm" — "became very dull and stupid, lying with his eyes closed" — "complained 
•of tingling like pins and needles" — and other symptoms indicating severe depres- 
sion. 4 

"The next series of observations were made on a lad aged nine, convalescent 
from pneumonia,, his temperature having become normal ten days previously. 
We experimented somewhat differently. The boy was kept in bed." 4 

In this case, the symptoms produced by the poison were such as to cause 
■considerable alarm, especially as they did not seem to abate with the discon- 
tinuance of the poison. Dr. Ringer states : 

"We noticed that his face was flushed and he looked dull, and that there was some 
tremor when his hand was held out. In the evening the tremors were more marked. At 
five a. m. the following day he twice vomited. On this day . . . his symptoms were very 
marked; . . . slight tremor of the lips on speaking, and thick husky voice; breathing 
rather labored; . . . slight spasmodic movements of the upper limbs; . . . grasping 
power weaker. . . . These symptoms were at their height at midday, and were so marked, 
and the pulse and respirations so quick, that we must confess we felt a little relief when the 
toxic [poisonous] symptoms, which became far more marked than we expected, abated ; not 
that at any time the boy was dangerously ill [!], but, as the symptoms progressed, after 
discontinuing the medicine, we did not know Iwzu long, and to what degree, they might in- 

What a confession ! Suppose this lad had died ? To what responsibility 
would the law have held Dr. Ringer? To none? 

Poisoning with Gelsemium. "Gelsemium is a powerful paralyzer and res- 
piratory poison ... In order to test the effects of gelsemium on man, I 
gave it to six persons on seventeen occasions, in doses sufficient to produce 
decided toxic [poisonous] effects." "To test the effect of gelsemium on the 
circulation I made thirty-three series of observations on patients in whom we 
induced the full toxic effects." To a little girl, aged nine, who was suffering 
from chorea, Dr. Ringer, to test the effect on temperature, "gave for five hours 
an hourly dose" and "produced well-marked constitutional effects." Among the 
symptoms which Dr. Ringer produced by this poison upon patients who doubtless 
supposed that they were receiving some remedy for their ailments, were 
pain, giddiness, dimness of sight, weakness in the legs and double vision. One 
patient described his pain "as if the crown of the head was being lifted off in 
two pieces" ; "the headache and pain in the eyeballs were often severe and were 
intensified on moving the eyes." "One patient, on both occasions on which I ex- 
perimented on him, complained spontaneously of a numb pain." 

Poisoning with Muscarin. This, substance is "the active principle of poison- 
ous fungi." It "affects especially the heart and intestinal canal," producing 
among other symptoms, " 'want of breath, giddiness, fainting, prostration, 
and stupor.' " In order "to ascertain whether the action of muscarin on man 
is the same as on animals," Dr. Ringer and his associate "made thirteen experi- 
ments on four men. . . . These men, it is well to state, were not in good 
health; three zvere in a delicate anaemic state, the other had slight fever from 
some obscure cause. . . ." He satisfied himself that the effects were the 
same as when animals were used, and that "in our experiments on man, muscarin 

*. Same, p. 589. 
B . Same, p. 591. 
°. Same, pp. 497-5<H- 

produced very little effect on the pulse. ... In nine other cases he applied, 

the poison to the eye, causing a wide dilation of the pupil which continued "about 
twenty-four hours or a little longer." 7 

A rare poison. Dr. Ringer's scientific enthusiasm was so great that he 
could not forbear making experiments upon hospital patients with a poison for 
which there appears to be no recognized medical use, and so rare that he was 
obliged to have it specially manufactured for the occasion. He says: 

"Our experiments led us to conclude that ethyl-atropium paralyzses the motor nerves 
and the spinal cord, but leaves the sensory nerves unaffected. . . . In our experiments on- 
man this drug, given in doses sufficient to produce marked symptoms, neither strengthened 
nor quickened the heart. ... In man, a dose of one grain . . . produces decided but 
transient paralysis, the patient being unable to stand or walk, and the head dropping rather 
towards the shoulder or chest, and the upper eyelids drooping."* 

Dr. Ringer suggests no medical employment for this poison, and his experi- 
ments upon human beings were apparently for the gratification of his curiosity. 
Does the reader regard such experiments upon hospital patients as justifiable? 

Poisoning with Nitrate of Sodium. "To eighteen adults — fourteen men and four women 
—we ordered ten grains of pure nitrate of sodium in an ounce of water, and of these, seven- 
teen declared they were unable to take it. . . . One man, a burly, strong fellow, suffering 
from a little rheumatism only, said that after taking the first dose he 'felt giddy,' as if he 
'would go off insensible.' His lips, face, and hands turned blue, and he had to lie down an 
hour and a half before he dared move. His heart fluttered, and he suffered from throbbing 
pains in the head. He was urged to try another dose, but declined on the ground that he had 
a wife and family. . . . The women appear to have suffered more than the men. . . ." s 

When a report of these experiments with poison upon hospital patients was 
first printed in the London Lancet, at least one medical journal regarded their 
publication as a very unwise proceeding, because of its being sure to cause injury 
to animal vivisection. The editorial columns of the Medical Times and Ga- 
zette (London) of Nov. 10, 1883 (Vol. 2, pp. 548-550), contain these comments 
upon the human vivisections just described : 

"In publishing, and indeed in instituting, their reckless experiments on the effect of 
nitrite of sodium on the human subject, Prof. Ringer and Dr. Murrell have made a 
deplorably false move, which the ever watchful opponents of vivisection will not be slow to 
profit by. They cannot allege that, they were driven to the experiments by the Vivisection 
Act, for they preface their account of their clinical observations by a description of pathologi- 
cal observations on two cats, who rapidly succumbed to the drug. Nor have they the 
excuse that the effects of nitrite of sodium on the human subject were unknown, for Dr. 
Ramskill and Dr. Ralfe have placed on record six cases in which its administration was 
attended by the most serious consequences — lividity and semi-collapse. It is impossible to 
read the paper in last week's Lancet without distress. Of the eighteen adults to whom Drs. 
Ringer and Murreil administered the drug in ten-grain doses, al! but one avowed they would 
expect to drop down dead if they ever took another dose. One woman fell lu the ground, and 
lay with throbbing head and nausea for three hours; another said it turned her lips quite 
black and upset her so that she was afraid she would never get over it. The next series of 
experiments was with five-grain doses. The same results followed in ten out of sixteen 
cases. One girl vomited for two hours, and thought she was dying. Even in three-grain 
doses the drug caused unpleasant symptoms in fo.-.r out of the thirteen patients to whom it was 
administered. All these observations are recorded with an innocent naivete, as though the 

Same, pp. 489-494. 

Same, p. 534. 

The Lancet, London, Nov. 3, 1883, p. 767. 

idea that any one could possibly take exception to them were far from the writer?' minds. 
But whatever credit may be given to Drs. Ringer and Murrell for scientific enthusiasm, it is 
impossible to acquit them of grave indiscretion. There will be a howl throughout the country 
if it comes out that officers of a public charity are in the habit of trying such useless and 
cruel experiments on the patients committed to their care, and the whole profession will be 
placed in a false position." 

One can hardly regard this protest as a very noble one. To speak of public 
indignation as "a hozvl throughout the country" is perhaps significant of the edi- 
tor's contempt for the non-scientific mind. But might not Dr. Ringer declare 
that if he had erred, it had been with the supporting influence of Dr. Keen, Dr. 
Mitchell and Dr. Morehouse, the three distinguished Americans who, long before, 
had laid down the rule that in the study of poisons, "in order to appreciate prop- 
erly any toxic agent, we must follow its effects through a wide range of created 
existence from vegetable to man"? 

Experiments with Antimony or Tartar Emetic. "In poisoning by this substance . . . 
the patient is attacked with pain in the stomach, followed by incessant retching, prcecordial 
■cramps and burning heat . . . severe colic. . . . The muscles are sometimes rigid, 
but generally relaxed ; the skin pale, cool and clammy ; the pulse feeble. . . . The dose 
required to produce such symptoms cannot be precisely stated. It may be but the fraction 
■of a grain which occasions them, and that with a fatal result." 10 

"We have thus shown," says Dr. Ringer, "that tartar-emetic paralyzes the 
central nervous system, the motor nerves, the muscles, and destroys sensation, 
and therefore we are led to infer that probably tartar-emetic is a protoplasmic 
poison, destroying function in all nitrogenous tissue." 11 

Although only a "fraction of a grain" may prove fatal, yet, to determine the 

■effect of the poison on temperature, Dr. Ringer made this experiment : 

"To a strong young man I gave tartar-emetic in half-grain doses every ten minutes for 
nearly seven hours, inducing great nausea and vomiting, with profuse perspiration." 12 

To this "strong young man" was given a poisonous substance to the amount 
•of nearly tzuenty-one grains, although a fatal result may be produced by "the 
fraction of a grain" ! Suppose he had died as the result of this experiment, and 
the experimenter had been indicted by the grand jury, would the uncertainty 
•of the action of the poison have been an available defense? 

Its effect upon the pulse is significant. A medical author tells us: 

"The more depressing the operation of the medicine . . . the more frequent and 
feeble does the pulse become. In the case of a boy zvhose brain membranes were exposed, 
Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi observed that in two and a half hours after the administration of 
a quarter of a grain of tartar emetic, which did not occasion vomiting, the intracranial 
hlood-pressure was diminished and the walls of the arteries relaxed. This peculiarity was 
not noticed under the action of sedative doses of quinine, and was produced only by nauseat- 
ing doses of tartar emetic." 13 

Poisoning with Alcohol.. .This substance, in various forms, is so widely 
used, that for purposes of experimentation it is generally necessary to admin- 
ister it either to children or to persons wholly unaccustomed to its use. Dr. 
Ringer says: 

The National Dispensatory, by Stille, Maisch & Caspari. 5th Ed., p. 219; (pub. by 

Lea Bros. & Co., Phila. & N. Y.) 
Handbook of Therapeutics, Ringer (above cited), p. 2J2. 
Same, p. 273. 

The National Dispensatory (above cited), p. 219. 


"As the result of a great many observations taken in conjunction with Dr. Rickards r 
every quarter of an hour for several hours, on persons of all ages, we found that alcohol,, 
brandy, and wine diminish the body temperature. After moderate doses the fall was slight, 
. . . but after poisonous doses the depression in one instance reached nearly three 
degrees." 11 

What a confession this is ! Even upon children wholly unaccustomed to 
alcohol in any form, as well as upon confirmed inebriates, Dr. Ringer carried on 
his experiments : 

"In a boy aged ten, who had never in his life before taken alcohol in any form, I found 
through. a large number of observations a constant and decided reduction of temperature. 
. . . Dr. Rickards and I gave to an habitual drunkard, making him 'dead drunk,' twelve 
ounces of good brandy in a single dose." 15 

This experiment was not without danger to life. When a large quantity 
of strong alcoholic drink is taken at a draught, 

"death from this rapid saturation of the system with alcohol is by no means rare. Orfila 
[the great authority on poisons] mentions an instance in which a man died immediately from 
the effects of a large dose of brandy. . . . Roscb also relates the cases of two children 
in which quite a small quantity [of gin] proved fatal."™ 

If any of Dr. Ringer's patients had died and he had been indicted, his own 
testimony as an expert would have been fatal to him on his trial. 

The Philadelphia Medical Journal, not long since, reported "some work"" 
done upon human beings by a German experimenter. In one case we are in- 
formed that the 

"quantity of alcohol was sufficient (with this subject, who zvas entirely unaccustomed to the 
use of alcohol) to produce a more or less constant condition of mild intoxication during 
the first few days." 17 

Of another subject, the vivisector states that '.'after the second dose signs of 
acute alcoholism and a condition approaching collapse appeared." It seems evi- 
dent that in this case the experiment was carried to a point where human life 
was in danger. 

Poisoning with Digitalis. The New York Medical Record reports a Vienna 
scientist who experimented upon human beings and animals by immersing them 
in various poisonous solutions. "A boy of fifteen years remained six hours in a 
sitz-bath (6s°C.) of infusion of half a pound of digitalis in four buckets of 
water. . . . Pulse fell from 84 to 60, gastric and cerebral symptoms occurred 
and lasted two days." ls 

Poisoning with Conia. This is the alkaloid principle of conium or hemlock,. 
the poison taken by Socrates, its most illustrious victim. "No poison, except 
prussic acid, excels conia in the subtlety and rapidity of its operation." 1 * 
The action of this poison has been more completely illustrated "by SchrofrV 
whose experiments were performed upon three healthy male adults." Among' 
• symptoms produced, were : 

"intense burning in the mouth ; . . . the tongue was benumbed and paralyzed . • . 
giddiness ; . . . great impairment of general sensibility, and a sort of discom- 

li . Ringer's Therapeutics (above cited), p. 340. 

15 . Same, p. 341. 

16 . Therapeutics and Materia Medica, by Alfred Stille, M. D., 4th ed'n. Philadelphia, 
Henry C. Lea, publisher. Vol. 1, p. 731. 

1T . The Phil. Medical Journal, Vol. VIII, Nov. 23, 1901, p. 888. 

1C . The Medical Record, New York. Vol. VII, p. 252. 

10 . Stille's Therapeutics and Materia Medica (above cited). Vol. II, p. 334. 


fort which lasted during the following day. The sight was confused, the pupils dilated, and 
surrounding objects seemed to swim; the hearing was dull; . . . the arms were moved 
with difficulty, and the gait was staggering. . . . The tips of the fingers and the hands 
were moist, cold, and bluish, the countenance sunken and pale-" 20 

Poisoning with East Indian Hemp. Dr. Lawrie, physician to the Lock 
Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, experimented with the poison of cannabis 
indica — or East Indian hemp — upon, some twenty-six unfortunate patients con- 
fided to his professional care. Some of the symptoms thus produced were as 
follows : 

"In many [cases], nausea and vomiting were produced; in several there were convulsive 
paroxysms; frequently the thirst was distressing; the pulse was rendered frequent, weak, 
and intermittent ; . . . the effects of the drug were so far from agreeable that 'the ma- 
jority of those who took it once only did so a second time on compulsion/" 

Dr. Stille refers to "the wretched and generally ignorant creatures who 
formed the subjects of Dr. Lawrie's experiments" 21 

These experiments were made in Europe ; but Dr. Stille quotes them in an 
American work without expression of disapprobation. 

A distressing feature of many of these experiments is the fact that the men 
and women upon whom they are performed were not only ignorant, but 
under constraint. In this horrible case certain patients in the hospital were not 
merely poisoned once, but were obliged, "on compulsion;' to undergo the con- 
vulsive paroxysms and all the other agonizing symptoms a second time. 

"Experimenting upon Man" Dr. H. C. Wood, Jr., distinguished by his 
vivisections of animals, thus refers to human vivisection in connection with ni- 
trite of amyl : 

"Fortunately there have not been as yet any cases of human poisoning by the drug, and 
no one in experimenting upon man, that I know of, has as yet carried the effect far enough 
to produce serious spinal symptoms. . . . Some who have administered the remedy to 
man with a little too great boldness, have been sorely frightened. . . * >Jt 

"Pushed even to a fatal dose." Is the circulation in the eye affected by 
various poisons when pushed to a fatal dose? Dr. Sydney Ringer tells us as 
follows : 

"Dr. J. H. Arbuckle (West Riding Lunatic Asylum Reports, Vol. V) finds that the 
following substances — Xicotia, Atropia, . . . Aconitia, Hydrate of Chloral, Nitrate of 
Amyl, Pfussic Acid, Strychnia . . . —pushed even to a fatal dose, do not in any degree 
affect the circulation at the fundus of the eye. His observations were made on rabbits, and 
the results they obtained were, with respect to some of these agents, contained by experi- 
ments on man." 23 

We do not know what this language means unless it be that these poisons 
"pushed even to a fatal dose"' produced phenomena that were "confirmed by ex- 
periments" upon human beings. It is certain that human vivisectors have given 
certain poisons up to a point just short of collapse. Dr. Stille refers to numerous 
experiments with antimony ; some by Mayerhoffer, ''who seems to have conducted 

m . Stille's Therapeutics and Materia Medica (above cited), Vol. II, p. 339. 
21 . Same, Vol. I, p. 962. 
". The American Journal of the Medical Sciences (before cited). Vol. 88 (N. S., 62), 

No. CXXIV (New Series), pp. 359 and 360. 
~ 3 . Ringer's Therapeutics (above cited), p. 368. 


his experiments carefully," — producing "tearing, cutting, and griping pains" etc. ; 
some by Ackermann, whose "observations were made on healthy persons" and who 
noticed that "the rate of the pulse increases with the development of the phenom- 
ena of collapse." 241 

"On Human Beings Before Your Eyes." It sometimes happens that scien- 
tific statements concerning the effects of a poisonous drug may be illustrated 
vividly by experiments made before the eyes of the student. In course of a 
lecture on atropine, delivered by a distinguished lady-physician, before the stu- 
dents of the Woman's College of the New York Infirmary, it would seem that 
three persons — one a "rather robust woman in good health" — were thus utilized. 
In summing up what was observed, the lady-lecturer is reported thus : 

"In the three cases where we tested the action of atropine on human beings before your 
eyes, we observed a fall of the pulse within ten minutes. ... In the second case the 
subject was a rather robust woman in good health. The pulse being at So, one-fiftieth gr. 
sulph. atrop. was given by subcutaneous injection. In seven minutes the pulse had fallen 
to 68. In fifteen minutes came a dryness of the throat and slight giddiness. In twenty min- 
utes the pulse had risen to 104. . . . This initial fall of the pulse ... is too trans- 
itory to be of any value therapeutically, but physiologically it is extremely interesting. 


This experimenter is, to-day, one of the most distinguished women in the 
medical profession. She. is a strong advocate of animal vivisection, unrestricted 
by any law. To her doubtless belongs the distinction of being the first woman 
in America to have under her control a laboratory for the vivisection of animals. 

"A very healthy Irish boy." Under the title: "Sphygmographic Experi- 
ments upon a Human Brain, Exposed by an Opening in the Cranium," Dr. 
Mary Putnam- Jacobi of New York has described a series of experiments made 
upon "Josie Nolan, aged ten," who, some eighteen months previously, had sus- 
tained a fracture of the skull. Dr. Putnam-Jacobi tells us that "the case offered 
a unique opportunity for the study of conditions affecting inter-cranial pressure" ; 
and the experiments, apparently, consisted in the administration of various pow- 
erful drugs, and in noting, by means of the sphygmograph. their effect upon the 
circulation of blood in the brain. Among the substances used in these most 
singular experiments upon "a very healthy Irish boy," were twenty grains of 
quinia, causing apparently a "rapid and complete collapse of cerebral arteries" ; 
thite drachms of brandy; five drops of tincture of belladonna, three times a day 
for four days, and five drops every three hours on the fifth day ; twenty grains 
of bromide of potassium; one sixty-fourth of a grain of atropia injected 
under the skin, etc. Whether anything of value was learned by the experiments 
we are not told. Dr. Putnam-Jacobi adds : "To what extent the conclusions, 
drawn from these observations, are in accordance with existing theories, may be 
considered on another occasion. On this, we content ourselves with registering 
the facts." This is the true scientific spirit. Whether the probable escape of 
this "very healthy Irish boy" from any serious consequences of the experiments 
justified these investigations upon a child is a question upon which there is per- 
haps room for difference of opinion. 26 It is of interest to note that Dr. Putnam- 

2 \ Stille's Therapeutics and Materia Medica (above cited), Vol. II, pp. 424-426. 
25 . The Medical Record, New York (ed. by Dr. Geo. F. Shrady), Vol. 8, pp. 249-250. 
2r> . The Am. Journal of the Medical Sciences, Vol. 102 (N. S., 76), No. CLI (New 
Series), pp. 103-112. 


Jacobi is most vehemently opposed to any governmental supervision or regulation 
of the vivisectors of animals. She says : "We have repudiated the right of the 
church to control the procedures and conclusions of science. Why should we 
now make over this right to men immersed in business and politics? Are they 
any more fitted than priests f" 27 To this scornful inquiry, we oppose another 
for the consideration of thoughtful men. Should not the State have the right to 
forbid even the most scientific of its physiologists to experiment thus upon a 
healthy lad without supervision or control ? Are experts in science also experts in 
morals ? 

American Soldiers as Material for Experiments. Some years since the 
scientific world was informed that certain experiments had been made upon 
American soldiers at the United States Army Hospital by American physicians. 
The object of their investigations was to study the action upon human beings 
of two poisonous substances — atropia and morphia. Just so far as the experi- 
ments were made upon suffering men, in the hope of giving relief from pain, 
and at the same time contributing to medical knowledge, there can be nothing to 
criticize in any way. There is reason, however, to believe that, moved by the 
zeal which science inspires, in some cases these experimenters went far beyond 
this. For example, in the report of their investigations appear the following state- 
ments : 

"We finally entered upon a deliberate course of experiments with the intention of ascer- 
taining in what respect . . . the two drugs in question were antagonistic. 
The experiments which we shall now relate xvere most of them made upon soldiers who were 
suffering from painful neuralgic diseases, or from some cause entailing pain. In some cases, 
however, convalescent men were the subjects of our observations, but in no instance were 
they allowed to know what agents we used, or what effects were expected." 28 

. . . "The subjects of our experiments were men free from fever. Some were suffering 
from neuralgia, and some were men in very fair health, suspected of malingering. . . . 
The patient was kept recumbent for some time before and during the observation." 2 " 

In other words, United States soldiers, some of whom were "in very fair 
health," some slowly recovering from wounds or disease, were used as research 
material for experiments with powerful drugs, and were not permitted to know 
what was being done ! 

The object of these experiments was the study of two drugs, morphia and 
atropia, given separately or in combination. One is impressed by the abundance 
of the human material at the disposal of these investigators ; they make not 
merely one or two experiments, but whole "series of experiments" : 

"In the next series of experiments we endeavored to learn whether, when full doses 
of morphia and atropia were injected together, the pulse zvould be modified. . . . These 
observations were checked by two other sets of experiments. In one we gave a full dose 
of morphia subcutaneously, and when the pupils were well contracted, or the cerebral in- 
fluence clearly marked, the atropia was employed. In the other we gave the atropia first, 
and when it began to show an effect on the pulse we injected a full dose of morphia." 30 

Very, singular experiments, these, to be made by American surgeons upon 
American soldiers ! 

2T . Vivisection : Hearing before the Senate Committee on the District of Columbia, 

February 21, 1900; Washington: Government Printing Office; p. 59. . 
2S . Am. Jour. Med. Sciences, New Series, Vol. 50, No. XCIX (New Series), pp. 69 

and 70. 
~\ Same, p. 71. 
30 . Same, pp. 72 and 73. 


And still other experiments upon the eye and brain : 

"Effect on the Eye. It is needless to show anew that atropia dilates and morphia con- 
tracts the pupillary aperture. Our observations consisted in using injections of both drugs- 
in succession or together so as to note how they influenced the iris. Their antagonism was 
here very plain. ... It was noticeable that the accommodation often remained para- 
lyzed for an hour 6r more after the pupils had been relieved from the effects of the 

It was of course found difficult to regulate the doses so that they should always neu- 
tralize one another precisely, even for a brief period, and hence it was common to see . . . 
a condition of complete antagonism prevailing for a time only, when one or other medi- 
cine would dominate the system. . 

\The effects of the two drugs upon the cerebral functions were studied separately, with 
care, and then in a second series of observations they were used together or in succession." 31 

Here, then, is a typical instance of wholesale experimentation upon human 
beings. How these experiments will be palliated and excused by the dis- 
tinguished men who performed them, it is easy to foretell. We shall un- 
doubtedly be told that all this happened some years ago ; that the American 
soldiers, thus used as material, suffered no permanent injury from the experi- 
ments to which they were subjected; that the investigators were purely disin- 
terested ; that the scientific questions involved were of great interest, and that 
results might possibly have been' obtained which would have proven of great 
service to medical science. But even if we grant all this, and accord to these 
gentlemen the purest of personal motives, can we say that, in such defense, they 
touch the chief point at issue in all this matter of human vivisection ? Here were 
a number of living human beings, who for a brief period, on account of mis- 
fortune, were temporarily in their power. What moral right had these medical 
gentlemen thus to experiment upon the eye, the pulse, the brain of a single soldier 
of this Republic, who was purposely not "allowed to know what agents" were 
used? That is the only question which is here raised. Even granting the utility, 
who confers upon anyone the moral right to test poisons on his fellow-men f 
Does any possible utility to science justify it? Are all these experiments made by 
Ringer, by Arbuckle, by Lawrie and a host of others to be condoned and com- 
mended because the motive was the advancement of science? Above all 
questions of profit or expediency or scientific gain, are there not certain stand- 
ards of right and wrong by which such experiments as these should be un- 
hesitatingly condemned ? 

In a pamphlet concerning human vivisection, published a few years since 
by the American Humane Association, attention was directed to some scientific 
experiments upon dying children made in a Boston Hospital, and to similar 
experiments upon lunatics in a Baltimore Insane Asylum. Replying apparently 
to some newspaper comments on these investigations, there appeared in the col- 
umns of the Baltimore Sun, and later, in the "Journal of the American Medical 
Association," a letter bearing the signature of Dr. W. W. Keen, a Philadelphia 
surgeon. Therein he refers to 

"a pamphlet published by the mis-called 'American Humane Society,' dealing . . . with 
all the instances which their drag-net had been able to cull from the medical literature of the 
world. Instead of human vivisection being practiced 'to a considerable extent,' that pamph- 

31 . Same, p. 73. 


let could give only two instances of anything resembling experiments on human beings in 
this country — one in Massachusetts and one in Maryland." 32 

Coming from Dr. Keen, this seems to us a very singular letter. We think 
the average reader would almost certainly imagine that Dr. W. W. Keen him- 
self was aware of but tzvo instances of anything like human vivisection in the 
medical annals of our country. But the "medical literature of the world" is vastly 
richer in details of these most deplorable experiments than is suggested by this 
letter ; and we are sure that upon reflection a scholar of his distinction would be 
ready to acknowledge it. We are quite confident, for instance, that Dr. Keen now 
will be able to recollect the foregoing "series of experiments," made upon Ameri- 
can soldiers in the United States Army Hospital. The utility of these human 
vivisections doubtless he will still maintain ; but may we not hope he would also 
add that no conceivable utility to science can justify such infringement upon 
human rights ? Certainly every one interested in the promulgation of scientific 
truth must deeply regret that when Dr. Keen thus apparently suggested the ex- 
treme infrequency of "anything resembling experiments on human beings in this 
country;" he should have so completely forgotten the report published in the 
American Journal of the Medical Sciences, No. xcix, (New Series), p. 6j, "On 
the Antagonism of Atropia and Morphia, Founded upon Observations and Ex- 
periments made at the U. S. A. Hospital [etc.]. By S. Weir Mitchell, M. D., 
William W. Keen, M. D., and George R. Morehouse, M. D." 

In another respect, we believe this communication of Dr. Keen to have been 
a mistake. Could anybody dream that the "two instances" thus referred to really 
covered no less than eight experiments upon lunatics, made in one charitable 
institution, and forty-five experiments upon sick and dying children, performed 
in a hospital specially consecrated to' their care? Because the object of investiga- 
tion is identical, is it but one experiment — no matter how many children are used? 
We are quite certain that the public will not accept Dr. Keen's singular method 
of enumeration, however scientific it mav seem to him. 


At a meeting of the New York Academy of Medicine, held Dec. I, 1887, a 
Dr. J. W. Stickler, of Orange, New Jersey, presented a paper upon "Foot-and- 
Mouth Disease as It Affects Man and Animals/' etc. 33 He had conceived the 
theory that this epidemic disorder, so fatal to certain animals, had a particular 
relation to scarlet fever ; and that if human beings were inoculated with the 
virus of this animal disease, it might render them immune to the infection of 
scarlatina. To test the theory- — one, by the way, utterly discredited and for- 
gotten at the present time — Dr. Stickler made a number of "experiments" of the 
most dangerous kind, upon children entrusted to his professional care. The 
New York Medical Record of Dec. 10, 1887, prints, as its leading article, this 
paper in full. 

The first victim of this human vivisector was a little boy, about eight years 
of age, who had never had scarlet fever. First, the lad was inoculated with 

32 . Letter of Dr. W. W. Keen to Baltimore Sun, and reprinted in Journal of American 
Medical Association, June 2, 1900, Vol. 34, p. 1432. 
33 . Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, Dec. 22, 1887, pp. 607-609. 


the virus of foot-and-mouth disease, an ailment very fatal to certain domestic 
animals. After his recovery from this, he was deliberately exposed to the 
infection of scarlet fever, one of the most terrible of all diseases to which children 
are liable. The experimenter shall tell the story in his own words : 

"He was then taken to a house in which there was a boy sick with scarlet fever. . . . 
His parents being poor, the pillow upon which the patient lay had not been exchanged 
. . . since the beginning of the sickness. This pillow was placed over the face of the 
boy who had been inoculated, and held there some time. He was then made to inhale the 
breath of the patient." 31 

Now, what do American fathers and mothers think of such experiments, 
if secretly made upon their own children? Because these parents were ignorant 
and "poor," is the experiment to be condoned? Is it any excuse to tell us that, 
after all, the lad did not suffer from scarlet fever, although he was forced by 
strong arms to run the risk of infection? If this child had taken the disease 
and had died from it, does anyone think that the details of that scientific murder 
would ever have come to light? 

A second victim of this experimenter upon the bodies of human beings 
was a little girl, only four years old. The vivisector tells us that he inoculated 
her in the arm — 

"with a small quantity of the foot-and-mouth virus. On March 13th her temperature rose to 
103 degrees F. Her mouth was sore, . . . she complained of a pricking sensation in 
her throat. She had slight headache. . . . The same plan of exposure was adopted as 
in the first case. . . ." : ''° 

She, too, escaped contracting scarlet fever, and a third victim to science 
had a like good fortune. That they did not become infected with the dread 
disease and die, certainly was not due to any lack of zeal on the part of this 
vivisector of children. 

These were not the only experiments made by Dr. Stickler ; he had been 
making similar experiments for years. Thus he says : 

"In the early part of the year 1883 I inoculated twelve persons with virus obtained 
from horses. . . . These twelve persons were also inoculated with tinman scarlatinal 
blood after they had been inoculated with equine virus. During the summer of the same 
year / inoculated thirteen children, all of whom had been, and were at the time .of inocula- 
tion, exposed to the influence of air contaminated by the breath and exhalations of scar- 
latinal patients. . . . During the last year I have inoculated two children with the 
contents of a vesicle produced in the abdomen of a calf by inoculation zvith virus derived 
from a patient zvho had scarlet fcver." za 

About these horrible facts, therefore, there can be no dispute, for they rest 
on the confession of the experimenter. A reputable member of the medical 
profession was able to induce parents — by what representations or promises we 
know not — to give over their children as the subjects of scientific experiments 
that might mave terminated in death. Little ones, free from any serious ail- 
ment, were deliberately inoculated with the virus of a horrible disorder, peculiar 
to certain domestic animals. After recovery from its effects, they were sub- 
jected to still another phase of human vivisection by being carefully exposed — 

New York Medical Record. Dec. 10, 1887, p. 728. 
New York Medical Record, Dec. 10, 1887, p. 728. 
New York Medical Record, Dec. 10, 1887, pp. 731 and 732. 


or forced to expose themselves — to the infection of one of the worst and most 
fatal of all the diseases that afflict and endanger the life of a child. We are told 
that none of the victims of these experiments contracted the disorder. May it 
not be possible that all the facts have not been disclosed? 

The paper describing these experiments upon little children was read be- 
fore a regular meeting of the New York Academy of Medicine, Dec. i, 1887, 
and was received with expressions of great interest. In the discussion that 
followed, some of the leading physicians of Xew York City took part. Dr. 
Andrew H. Smith inquired whether it was an easy matter to procure virus so 
l that the supply could be kept up in case the method came into general requisi- 
tion. Dr. J. Lewis Smith expressed doubts of the expediency of such investi- 
gations and pointed out that "by inoculating with the bovine scarlatinous virus, 
we might produce severe and fatal epidemics." 

Professor Law, the well-known veterinarian of Cornell University, speak- 
ing as a scientist, expressed his scepticism regarding the method of experimenta- 
tion, and pointed out that 90,000 deaths from scarlatina had occurred in Great 
Britain during the preceeding five years. He strongly urged that investigations 
of this kind "should be carried on on the other side of the Atlantic, as it would 
be a very serious matter if that affection should be introduced in this way among 
American cattle, and he had no doubt that there would be a general outcry among 
the cattlemen if it were known that experiments were being made with the virus 
of the disease in this country." No suggestion was made of any "out- 
cry" among the fathers and mothers of American children liable to infection-ex- 
periments of this kind; it was the American cattlemen whose protests were 
feared. Not a word of criticism made upon these experiments from the stand- 
point of their immorality appears in the report. 

A full summary of these child-vivisections was printed by The Jourxal 
of The American Medical Association 37 of Chicago ; The Medical News 38 
of Philadelphia, the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal 39 , and both The 
New York Medical Journal 40 and the Medical Record 41 of New York. 
With words of remonstrance or condemnation? Not one. 

Even yet, we are not without hope for better things. We heartily wish that 
the day may come when, in utterances that can not be misunderstood, the medical 
press of this country shall expend its vigor of denunciation, not upon those who 
bring infamy to the light of day, but upon the wretched experimenters upon 
human victims, whose deeds bring scandal upon science and disgrace upon the 
practice of medicine. No doubt it will require some degree of moral courage for 
the conductors of an American periodical to take this stand; probably it will 
alienate the support of a few well-known vivisectors. But any such loss, we are 
sure, will be more than compensated by an enhanced self-respect and an increased 
public confidence and esteem. 

37. Dec. 24, 1887, pp. 827-829. 

38. Dec. 10, 1887, pp. 688-690. 

39. Dec. 22, 1887, pp. 607-609. 

40. Jan. 14, 1888, pp. 49 and 50. 

41. Dec. 10, 1887, pp. 745-746. 


The British Medical Journal of July 7, 1900, page 60, says: 

"Gross abuses in any profession should not be hushed up, but should rather be made 
public as freely as possible, so as to rouse public opinion against them and thus render their 
repetition or spread impossible. And therefore we have reason to thank the Social-Democrat 
newspaper Vorwarts for dragging into light the 'experiments' made by Dr. Stubell [Strubell] 
(first assistant in Professor Stinzing's clinic at Jena) on patients suffering from diabetes 
insipidus, and published by him in the Archiv fur klinische Medizin [Deuisches Archiv fur 
Klinische Medicin, Dec. 22, 1898]. (Dr. Stubell [Strubell] there relates how he kept 
one of his patients in an attic with barred windows, the door of which he locked, 
putting the key in his pocket; how the patient, who was allowed only a small amount of 
liquid, in the torturing thirst which is a symptom of the disease, drank his washing water, 
so that he was then no longer allowed to wash himself ; how one night, in his agony, 
. . . ; how another night he wrenched off one of his window bars, climbed over the 
roof to another small window, through which he crept, thus finding his way to a water-tap, 
where he was captured and brought back to his prison. Dr. Stubell [Strubell] calmly states 
that his patient must have 'endured frightful tortures' one night, and gives the following ac- 
count of his condition in the morning : 'The patient was quite collapsed, his lace seemed dried 
up, eyes and cheeks deeply sunken, pulse almost imperceptible, a great deal of pain, the 
joints stiff-' The whole medical profession must reprobate cruelties such as these perpetrated 
in the name of science.") 

What an inspiration toward righteousness are words like these coming from 
such a source ! How almost infinite is the contrast between this honest out- 
spoken condemnation of "cruelties," and the paltering apologies and excuses 
which seem to find principal expression on this side of the ocean. 

One of the most horrible cases of human vivisection in this country, and 
one, too, which was terminated by the death of the victim, occurred in one of the 
hospitals of Cincinnati, Ohio. 

The experiments were performed by a physician who, for many years, was 
connected with one of the leading medical schools of Philadelphia ; a man who is 
widely known throughout the United States. Under the significant title : "Ex- 
perimental Investigations into the Functions of the Human Brain," the experi- 
menter published his story to the world, apparently assured that its scientific in- 
terest would outweigh whatever objections from a moral standpoint might be 
urged. The case is so excellent an illustration of scientific degeneracy that it 
deserves to be told somewhat in detail. 

To an institution bearing the comforting name of the Good Samaritan 
Hospital there came one day a poor woman by the name of Mary Rafferty. 
A domestic servant by occupation, strong neither in mind nor body, she 
had sustained an accident which made her good "material" for a dangerous ex- 
periment. When a child, she had fallen into the fire and severely burned her 
scalp ; and a few months before, in the scar-tissue, an eroding ulcer had ap- 
peared which gradually had laid bare the brain-substance. Apparently any cure 
of her trouble was seen at once to be hopeless ; but she presented a chance for 
making scientific experiments of a kind such as had hitherto been made only upon 
dumb animals. We are twice told by the experimenter that she was "rather feeble- 
minded," and we may thus judge the value of her "consent" to experimentation 


— if, indeed, her consent was ever asked. She did not complain of headache or 
vertigo ; she was "cheerful in manner," and smiled "easily and frequently," with 
child-like confidence and perfect faith in the goodness of those about her. 

"It is obvious," says the experimenter at the outset, "that it is exceedingly 
desirable to ascertain how far the results of experiment on the brain of animals 
may be employed to elucidate the functions of the human brain." He com- 
menced his vivisections, therefore, upon Mary Rafferty by inserting into the sub- 
stance of the brain, thus exposed by disease, insulated needle electrodes of 
various lengths, and connecting them with a battery. Exactly what would be the 
result, nobody knew ; but "it was believed that diffusion of the current could 
"be as restricted as in the experiments of Fritsch and Hitzig and Ferrier," made 
upon animals. The first two experiments were cautiously made and evoked the 
usual phenomena ; "the arm was thrown cut, the fingers extended, and the leg was 
projected forward," but no pain was felt "in the brain-substance proper." 
Gathering courage, the experimenter went a little farther. Peculiar sensations 
hegan to be felt by the victim. Let the vivisector tell the story : 

/ "The needle was now withdrawn from the left lobe and passed in the same way into the 
[brain] substance of the right. . . . When the needle entered the brain-substance, she 
complained of acute pain in the neck. In order to develop more decided reactions, the 
strength of the current was increased by drawing out the wooden cylinder one inch. When 
communication was made with the needles, her countenance exhibited great distress, and she 
began to cry. Very soon the left hand was extended as if in the act of taking hold of some 
object in front of her; the arm presently was agitated with clonic spasms; her eyes became 
•fixed, with pupils widely dilated ; lips were blue, and she frothed at the mouth ; her breathing 
became stertorous ; she lost consciousness, and was violently convulsed on the left side. The 
convulsion lasted five minutes, and was succeeded by coma. She returned to consciousness 
in twenty minutes from the beginning of the attack./ . . ."^ 

What had happened ? Simply this : the distinguished scientist had caused in 
.a human being precisely the same "violent epileptiform convulsion" which 
Fritsch and Hitzig and Ferrier had produced in the lower animals, and by the 
same method of experimentation. Dr. Ferrier himself, in some observations 
upon these human vivisections, referred to the "epileptiform convulsions" as a 
complete parallel to his own results upon lower animals. 

Perhaps some unscientific person may feel that the experimenting should 
have ceased at this point, and that the poor girl should have been allowed 
to go home and die in peace. But is this other than mere sentiment? The 
president of Harvard University once declared that "to interfere with or retard 
the progress of medical discovery is an inhuman thing" ; yet we cannot believe 
lie would have approved the continuance of these vivisections, even though 
in accord with that sentiment. Again, this experiment upon the poor creature's 
brain was performed ; the needles were passed into the brain ; the same phe- 
nomena were evoked, "except [that] the strength of the current was not suf- 
ficient to produce the epileptiform attack" ; only "muscular contractions" and 
"pain and tingling in the extremities" seem to have been caused. But not yet 
had she served the demands of science. Of the next experiment performed, the 
vivisector himself shall tell us the result: 

American Jour. Med. Sciences, Vol. 93 (N. S., 67), No. CXXXIV, New Series, pp. 
310-31 1. 


"Two days subsequent to observation 4, Mary was brought down into the electrical room 
with the intention to subject the posterior lobes to galvanic excitation. The proposed experiment 
was abandoned. She was pale and depressed ; her lips were blue ; and she had evident difficulty 
in locomotion. She complained greatly of numbness and tingling in the right arm, shoulder, 
and foot. . . . On further examination there was found to be decided paresis and 
rigidity of the muscles of the right side of the body. . . . She became very pale, her 
eyes closed, and she was about to pass into unconsciouness, when we placed her in the 
recumbent posture, and Dr. Steeley gave her, at my request, chloroform by inhalation." 43 

"The day after . , . Mary was decidedly worse. She remained in bed, was stupid 
and incoherent. In the evening she had a convulsive seizure, lasting about five minutes, con- 
fined to the right side. After this attack she lapsed into profound unconsciousness, and 
was found to be compJetely paralyzed on the right side. . . . No movements of any 
kind could be excited by strong irritation of the skin of the paralyzed side. . . . The 
pupils were dilated and motionless." 44 

How soon afterward did she die? 

The report does not tell us. We next learn of the "autopsy." The brain 
was taken out, and the track of the needles traced, one having penetrated an 
inch and a half through the brain-substance, its course being marked "by some 
diffluent cerebral matter." 45 

No coroner was called upon to make an investigation. Officially speak- 
ing, she was reported to have died of the disease from which she had been so 
long suffering. 

And yet criticism was not wanting. In sundry periodicals it was hinted 
that Science had gone a little too far. The experimenter himself admitted this 
in a letter to the British Medical Journal. 46 Of course he made excuses. In the 
first place he declared that "the patient was hopelessly diseased." Secondly, 
"the patient consented to have the experiments made." But twice he had told 
us that she was "rather feeble-minded'' and, of course, she was in no condition 
to comprehend the dangers of the experiment. Finally, he informs us that death 
was really due to the progress of the disease. We expect all this. No victim of 
such research will ever die from any experiment, but from some other cause. 
Yet the experimenter frankly admitted that his experiments had been injurious. 
He had believed, he said afterwards, that small needles could be thus "introduced 
without injury into the cerebral substance. / novo know that I was mistaken. To 
repeat such experiments with the knowledge we now have that injury will be 
done by them . . . would be in the highest degree criminal." But he 
still insists that in his own case they did not cause the fatal result. We may 
not agree with all of his defence, but we are in hearty accord with one point. 
That such experiments not only "would be" — but were — "in the highest degree 
criminal," is a conclusion about which there will be no divergence of opinion 
among right-thinking men. 

Dr. Ferrier, whose experiments upon monkeys had led indirectly to these 
human vivisections, declared in regard to the experiments on Mary Rafferty, that 
"whatever opinion may be entertained as to their propriety, they furnish facts of 
great interest in relation to the physiology of the brain." He speaks of "the 

Same, p. 311. 
Same, p. 311. 
Same, p. 312. 

British Medical Journal, May 30, 1874, p. 727. 


depth of penetration of the needles" ; refers to "the occurrence of epileptic con- 
vulsions from general diffusion of the irritation when the currents were 
intensified," and finally distinctly affirmed that the "epileptic convulsions and 
ultimate paralysis are clearly accounted for by the inflammatory changes, at first 
causing irritation . . ." 47 In experiments upon animals, Dr. Ferrier tells us, 
the same effects have been observed. It seems apparent from the tenor of his 
•communication that Dr. Ferrier, who first made experiments of this kind on 
the brains of monkeys, had little doubt as to the cause of Mary Rafferty's death. 
Who made these human vivisections? Was it some young surgeon, just 
beginning his career? Was it some unknown member of the medical pro- 
fession, whose obscurity renders him the safe mark of general obloquy? No. 
These experiments upon a poor hospital patient were made by one of the most 
eminent physicians in the United States. Among the men composing the 
faculty of one of the best-known medical colleges in the United States, his name, 
less than half a dozen years ago, stood first on the list. 

"Demoralizing and degrading experiment." Some years since there appeared 
in the editorial columns of The New York Medical Record (edited by Dr. George 
F. Shrady, A. M.), a unique and vigorous condemnation of a certain form of 
human experimentation. One or two sentences only can here be quoted : 

"Not satisfied with this, a few progressive ones are going still further . . . and are 
selecting women for the baser purposes of demoralising and degrading experiment. * * * 

"There are some things, such as this, which even science cannot divest of its immoral 
aspects. * * * Are we not presuming a little too much for science, and are we not drift- 
ing into an indifference to ordinary decency, which, as a learned and dignified profession, 
we should take every pains to prevent?" 48 

Regarding Human Vivisection, what is the attitude of the eminent surgeons 
and physicians, who keep before the public eye, of the editors of the leading 
medical journals, the representatives of medical opinion? Are deeds such as 
have been herein described regarded as laudable, if performed only upon the 
ignorant and poor, in the name of Science? 

No such creed is openly professed. Is it held in secret? Take the repre- 
sentative medical journals in the United States. No one can attack or criticize 
the cruelties pertaining to animal vivisection without finding them, one and all, 
eager to maintain the right of the vivisector to carry on his experiments exactly 
as he may wish. How do they stand toward the men who make experiments 
upon human beings? Possibly we may judge of their real attitude by what 
they have not done. During the past quarter of a century, has a single human 
vivisector been mentioned by name with condemnation and rebuke in the editorial 
columns of any medical journal of the United States that upholds the unlimited 
vivisection of animals ? For any such condemnation we have searched in vain. 

Can we imagine that the editors of medical journals throughout the United 
States would be so absolutely indifferent to the atrocities of human vivisection 
— printed and described in their own columns — unless, in reality, such deeds 
are regarded as excusable, if they are done "in the name of Science"? We know 
that this is the ground upon which they justify or defend the worst excesses of 

4T . The London Medical Record, May 13, 1874; vol. 2, pp. 285 and 286. 
**. The Medical Record of New York, Vol. 7, pp. 469, 470. 1 


animal vivisection. Does it not also seem to them to apply equally to the vivi- 
section of babes? 

Let us have light on this matter. It was in the Bulletin of The Johns Hop- 
kins Hospital of July, 1897, p. 137, that a physician, connected with Johns Hop- 
kins University, gave an account of his experiments upon insane patients, made, 
as he tells us, "for the purpose of ascertaining the toxicity" (or poisonous quali- 
ties) of a certain drug. Will any professor of Johns Hopkins University, now tell 
us when, and where, he ever denounced by name that experimenter upon defence- 
less men and women? Can he mention a single experimenter upon women and 
children whom he has ever denounced, or ever reproved — by name? Take the 
editors of the medical periodicals to which we have just referred. During the 
past twenty years, has there appeared in the columns of these journals, a single 
sentence wherein any one of the vivisectors of defenceless women and little 
children has been by name specifically condemned? It was the Journal of the 
American Medical Association of Chicago, which, in its issue of Aug. 4, 1900 
(p. 271), published the statement of a New York surgeon, who confessed that in 
order "to test the efficiency of" a newly-imported instrument, he had made two 
poor women, suffering from internal disease, undergo a most serious surgical 
operation, although "they were strictly inoperable cases, from the standpoint of 
cure." Can the Journal now point to a single sentence in its columns wherein a 
human vivisector like this has been denounced by name ? It was the Medical Rec- 
ord of New York which, in its issue of Sept. 10, 1892 (p. 297), permitted an 
American vivisector of children to describe the inoculation of innocent little girls 
with the virus of the most awful disease known to humanity. Will the editor 
of the Medical Record point out any denunciation of this experimenter, or of any 
other vivisector of his kind, which has appeared in its editorial columns? It 
was the Medical News of Philadelphia which in its issue of April 1, 1899 (Vol. 
74, p. 388), published an article referring to the "inoculations of cancer from man 
to man," "done both intentionally and successfully" by an experimenter who "is 
discreetly silent with regard to details." Will the editor of the Medical News 
quote some editorial expression of its "repulsion" concerning this criminal, and 
any word of denunciation of any other human vivisector which ever appeared 
in its editorial columns ? It was the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal which, 
in its issues of Aug. 6, 1896 (Vol. 135, pp. 132-136), and Aug. 13, 1896 (Vol. 
J 35> PP- : 56-i6o), gave to the world an account of "some experimental work," 
made upon sick and dying children in a Boston hospital. Will the editor of that 
periodical point us to any passage in its columns wherein this vivisector of 
infants was condemned? 

Among all of these journals, is there a single one that even now dares to 
come out in clear and outspoken condemnation of the men who have performed 
such experiments as we have named? We know what to expect. Some vague 
and meaningless protest against "improper methods of scientific investigation," 
some appeal for prudence in the publication of scientific experiments, some at- 
tempts at exculpation or defence — and bitter denunciation of this exposure — 
these, of course, will appear. But is it not possible to hope for more than this? 
If it must be admitted that not a single human vivisector has been condemned 
by the journals we have mentioned, may not some reparation be made by the 


emphasis of their future utterances? At the beginning of a new century, we 
are confronted by great problems. One of these is human vivisection in the 
name of scientific research. We appeal, then, to the medical press of America 
to break that unfortunate silence which seems to justify or, at least, to condone 
it. Now and henceforth, will it not join us in condemning every such vivisector 
of little children, every such experimenter upon human beings? We make 
this appeal to it, in the name of Justice and Humanity, and for the sake of 
millions yet unborn. 

What is the remedy for Human Vivisection? 

It has been practiced by men of national reputation. It is condoned, de- 
fended, apologized for by exponents of the new creed — that Science brooks no 
interference with her methods, and is supreme in her own sphere. There is but 
one remedy. It is legislation. An awakened public sentiment must demand 
that experiments like these, upon the poor, the defenceless, the ignorant and 
'.the weak, shall no longer be permitted but shall constitute a crime in every 
American commonwealth. To this end we invite the cooperation of all into 
whose hands this pamphlet may come. 

Secretary of Vivisection Reform Society. 



I hereby give and bequeath the sum of_ 


to the VIVISECTION REFORM SOCIETY, a corporation organized and 
existing under the laws of the United States, for its corporate uses and